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From iPhone to iPad: Revisiting Zen Bound 2


How do old favorites hold up on the iPad? In our "From iPhone to iPad" series, TUAW revisits iPhone applications that have transitioned to the iPad. We look at their latest incarnation and see how the new measures up to the old. Today, TUAW looks at Zen Bound 2.

It was just about a year ago when I first played the original Zen Bound game on the iPhone. Having been recommended to me by Dave Caolo after it was originally reviewed on TUAW by Mike Schramm, I loved the game's beautiful graphics and sound design. Starting its life as a physics emulation game called Zen Bondage, Zen Bound became be a huge breakout hit on the iPhone.

You play the game by wrapping rope around objects until you've covered a certain percentage of the object in question, avoiding running out of rope in the process. You progress by ascending a "game tree," unlocking new puzzles as you succeed in wrapping each object.

The iPad version of Zen Bound 2 brings the same high quality design and interaction as its predecessors, all nicely updated to the new screen size. I found it a great deal of fun to play, although the puzzles are much harder this time around -- much as you might expect with a sequel.

The big question is this: does the bigger screen improve the playing experience? I'm going to say no. That's not a slam at the application. It's a great game family, regardless of whether you play on the iPhone or iPad, and that's where the "no" comes from. There's nothing particularly innovative in the iPad release beyond the revised levels and a new "paint bomb" mode, which I never actually got to test. But that's okay. Zen Bound 2 is still basically the same excellent game; the iPad version has been competently upsized and the results are good.

Zen Bound 2 is a worthy successor to Zen Bound. If you loved the original, you're sure to enjoy this update. Zen Bound 2 for iPad costs US$7.99 at the App Store. It's a beautiful, fun-to-play application. If you're playing with kids, you may want to start with the $2.99 iPhone original version, which offers easier puzzles before moving on to the iPad version, which my children found far more challenging.

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